Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

Some 468 area women packed into the North Ballroom of Galveston’s Hotel Galvez on Friday, Feb. 19, eager to learn about careers in the petrochemical and industrial trades industries.

The number far exceeded the expectations of conference planners for this first-ever event.

“It told us there are many capable women interested in well-paying, challenging careers in what were once male-dominated industries,” said Debi Jordan, spokesperson for the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI), which sponsored the event, along with several major industrial partners.    Read more » about Women In Industry Conference Turnout Exceeds Expectations

The second ever Lift & Move USA event which was held last month in Houston connected over 650 high school and college students with industry representatives from the crane, rigging and specialized transport industries, inspiring them to pursue careers in those challenging and rewarding fields.

TNT Crane & Rigging hosted the one-day event from their Houston facility where they had several large cranes of varied types on display outside with skilled operators on hand to talk with the attendees about the equipment.  Appropriately, the indoor program began with an introduction from Mike Appling, President and CEO of TNT Crane & Rigging.  In his opening remarks, he noted that the average annual salary for crane operators in Houston is currently $118K.   Read more » about Students See Their Futures in Construction at Lift & Move USA Event in Houston [VIDEO]

Construction is a vast and complex industry that allows men and women to use their talents and professions in many ways. ABC/CMEF is offering scholarships to qualifying undergraduate students pursuing a degree for a career in construction at a university or community college.

The scholarship committee will be awarding upwards of $20,000 in scholarship money. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is Friday, March 18th. You can view the scholarship requirements and application here

The committee will take into consideration each applicant's interest in construction, grades, extracurricular activities, employment experience, and financial needs.    Read more » about ABC to Offer Scholarships for Students Pursuing Degrees in Construction

Construction employment in February, spending in January climb to seven-year highs

Editor’s note: Construction Citizen is proud to partner with AGC America to bring you AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson's Data DIGest. Check back each week to get Ken's expert analysis of what's happening in our industry.

Nonfarm payroll employment in February increased by 242,000, seasonally adjusted, from January and by 2,672,000 (1.9%) over 12 months, and the unemployment rate stayed at 4.9%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported last week. Construction employment rose by 19,000 for the month (to 6,631,000) and by 253,000 (4.0%) year-over-year (y/y). Industry employment reached the highest level since December 2008. Residential construction employment (residential building and specialty trade contractors) increased by 15,000 for the month and 155,100 (6.4%) y/y.    Read more » about AGC's Data DIGest: Feb. 29-March 4, 2016

HOUSTON - The Greater Houston Partnership announced Thursday additional details about the organization’s office space in the new Partnership Tower. The build-out will be completed by Partnership member companies who demonstrate a commitment to developing and maintaining a quality and skilled construction workforce. The Partnership is joining with the Construction Career Collaborative, or C3, that has developed a set of principles for commercial construction companies to follow in their business practices that includes financial security, health and well-being of craft professionals, and appropriate safety and craft training for their workforce.

The Partnership, through its UpSkill Houston initiative, focuses on developing a sustainable talent pipeline for seven key industry sectors that drive Houston’s regional economy.    Read more » about Partnership Office Build-Out Will Demonstrate Commitment to Sustainable Workforce

Attorneys expect an appeal in the case of a construction worker who died in an accident on the Kyle Field jobsite in College Station at the Texas A&M campus.

That's after a Harris County jury in Houston awarded $54 million to the family of Angel Garcia, who was using a loader bucket to catch concrete debris during demolition at the stadium. The loader had a 2,700-pound carrying capacity but was bearing a 3,340-pound concrete section as another worker was using a circular saw to cut the piece from a support column, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.    Read more » about Appeal Expected After $54 Million Verdict for Family of Worker Killed on A&M Jobsite

A new program with an impressive success rate is underway at Alvin Community College, where veterans are receiving training to get good-paying jobs in the petrochemical industry as pipefitters and welders.

Teresa Grace is the Grant Coordinator for the Petrochem Veterans Initiative Grant. She told the Construction Citizen team that more than 150 veterans have been trained in the program since it started in the end of 2014. “Veterans have demonstrated discipline, work ethic, leadership, are quick learners and they have the skills employers want,” Grace said.

The program involves fast track training in pipefitting and welding in which students train for 5 weeks for a total of 160 classroom hours. The grant pays for tuition and fees.

“I have reached out to employers and have invited them to visit the college and speak to our veteran students about job opportunities,” Grace said. “Our students are getting hired with Bechtel, S&B Engineers, Performance Contractors, Infinity Group, Zachry and other contractors in the area.”

One of those students, Guillermo Marquez, was in the Army for 8 years and has previously worked as a painter. “The Workforce Commission was promoting the classes and I decided to take it because I wanted to learn more," he said. "I'm learning pipefitting. It's tougher but I'm willing to do it because that paycheck is going to be pretty good," Marquez said.    Read more » about At Alvin Community College, Veterans Learning Critical Skills for Good-Paying Jobs [VIDEO]

Editor’s note: This is the second article in a series which will span three generations of craft workers who have enhanced career opportunities for themselves and others through participation in the workforce development program at Jacobs.

Mason Sloan, Pipefitter Foreman at Jacobs, currently works on a refinery project in Baytown, Texas.  After graduating from high school, Sloan began working for an emissions company where he executed shutdowns as a boilermaker and a pipefitter helper.  He worked hard and showed an interest in learning new skills – working his way up to testing and monitoring emissions leaks where he tightened and replaced valves, unions, and plugs.

After working a few years as a helper, he learned that Jacobs sponsors their employees in continued education, so Sloan came to work for Jacobs 6½ years ago where he could further his training.  Jacobs supported Sloan’s studies in pipefitting at Lee College, and in Electrical at San Jacinto College Central.  He also participated in Jacobs’ Leadership Development Program, and plans to become Multi-Craft Certified.  So far, Sloan has earned the following NCCER certificates:   Read more » about Craft Professional Spotlight: Advancing a Career Through Experience and Education